Arkansas Crime

Police in Searcy have called off the active search for a missing 2-year-old and are now focusing on a criminal investigation into the child's disappearance.

The hunt for Malik Drummond began Nov. 23 when his father and stepmother reported he apparently walked away from their home. Volunteers joined with local police, state police and the FBI in an unsuccessful search for the boy.

Police Chief Jeremy Clark said in a news release Monday that investigators will focus "on the only possible remaining scenarios."

Martha Shoffner
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

A lawyer for an ex-Arkansas treasurer convicted in a bribery and extortion case says in court papers she is grateful that she won't be tried on mail fraud charges.

Prosecutors said Tuesday they intend to drop 10 mail fraud counts against Martha Shoffner. Defense lawyer Chuck Banks filed papers Wednesday saying Shoffner "welcomes and is grateful" for the decision.

Little Rock Police
David Monteith / KUAR News

The Little Rock Police Department took action Tuesday to try and establish some good will in the community. Officers, in an event planned weeks ago, distributed 150 frozen turkeys and hams to drivers who lined up in front of the recently built 12th Street substation.

By chance, it came the day after outrage again erupted in Ferguson, Missouri as a grand jury there decided not to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed 18-year-old. Demonstrations also took place elsewhere in the country.

Martha Shoffner
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Federal prosecutors are asking to drop their case accusing former Arkansas state Treasurer Martha Shoffner of spending thousands from her campaign on personal items and said they'll present evidence of the spending when she's sentenced in a separate bribery case.

Prosecutors on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes to dismiss 10 counts of mail fraud against Shoffner over the campaign spending accusations. Shoffner was convicted earlier this year of steering state investments to a bond broker who had given her cash over the years and is awaiting sentencing.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' attorney general says the state Crime Victims Reparations Board awarded $276,956 to victims of crime in October.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Monday that awards were made in 204 new cases. Additional expenses were paid in 19 previously submitted cases.

Victims of violent crime may be eligible for compensation from the state's Crime Victim Reparation Program for unexpected expenses such as medical treatment, mental health counseling and funeral costs. Compensation is also available for lost wages and replacement services.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is warning residents to use caution when they go online to shop for gifts this holiday season.

McDaniel issued a consumer alert this week ahead of the Dec. 1 "Cyber Monday," when tens of millions of Americans shop online.

To stay safe, McDaniel says consumers should make sure to shop websites of reputable retailers and avoid giving sensitive financial information like a credit card number unless it's appropriate - such as on an order form.

Jurors have convicted a Fort Smith man of killing two men with a machete.

The Southwest Times Record reports 21-year-old Gregory Kinsey had faced capital murder charges but was found guilty of first- and second-degree murder. A Sebastian County jury returned the verdict after deliberating for more than three hours and hearing arguments from Kinsey's attorneys that he acted in self-defense.

Kinsey killed 39-year-old Brandon Prince and 32-year-old Nathan Young in June 2013. He says he was walking home from Dollar General when the men approached and threatened him.

A woman who admitted she impersonated singer Alison Krauss to swindle money from a 75-year-old Fayetteville man has been returned to Arkansas after being arrested in New Mexico.

KHOG television reports that Peggy Sue Evers pleaded not guilty to a failure to appear charge in Washington County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors say an arrest warrant was issued for Evers after she missed a court date. She was later arrested in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The judge in the double murder trial of a man charged with killing two men in Fort Smith with a machete says the case could soon go to the jury.

Sebastian County Circuit Court Judge Stephen Tabor dismissed jurors after testimony on Tuesday in the trial of 21-year-old Gregory Aaron Kinsey and said he anticipates getting the case to them for deliberation by Wednesday afternoon.

Kinsey is charged with two counts of capital murder in the June 2013 deaths of 39-year-old Brandon Prince and 32-year-old Nathan Young in Fort Smith. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe is defending his plans to pardon his son for a 2003 marijuana conviction, saying he's receiving the same type of second chance hundreds of other nonviolent offenders have had.

Beebe appeared Tuesday on his monthly call-in show on the Arkansas Educational Television Network. He said he's not going to treat his son any better or any worse than others who have sought pardons during his administration.